Truck technology is moving faster than ever—too fast, in many cases, for owners of older trucks. If your truck is more than a few years old, you have likely missed out on multiple generations of software, telematics and uptime services—and won’t be able to access future versions either.
A Fleet Advantage survey released earlier this year found that 32% of trucks currently on the road are being run in a six- to eight-year lifecycle, 20% are being run for nine to 10 years, and 4% even longer than that. All in all, roughly 56% of trucks on the road are unable to take advantage of many of the latest advances in technology such as remote diagnostics.
This was an issue that Mack Trucks saw as well. “When you look across our mix, Mack is active in all segments and have customers that have a range of all ages of vehicles,” says David Pardue, Mack’s vice president of connected vehicles and uptime services. “While we we offer a range of parts to support those customers—including reman, reconditioned and used parts—until now, we did not have a solid solution to bring our latest uptime and connectivity to customers with legacy vehicles.”
That changed in October when Mack announced a partnership with Geotab to bring its uptime services to its older trucks. As of May 1, the service is now available and applies to trucks with model year GHG 2010 engines and newer.
The Mack GuardDog Connect system comes integrated in new Mack trucks and monitors and alerts the driver and fleet to potential issues, working with Mack’s OneCall customer support center and Asist fleet management platform to limit the truck’s downtime as much as possible. GuardDog Connect has come standard on Mack trucks since model year 2015, and now, those same services are available to owners of older vehicles as well.
“We’re completely connected into GuardDog Connect and the Certified Uptime Center program, so when those legacy vehicles come into our dealership, we can measure the end-to-end experience,” Pardue says.
This is possible through Geotab’s GO7 device, which pulls the necessary remote diagnostic information off of the vehicle to power Mack’s remote diagnostic services, according to Scott Sutarik, Geotab’s associate vice president of commercial vehicle solutions.
According to Sutarik, the flow of data proceeds as follows:
“From the J1939 electrical system, we’re able to pull information concerning fault codes and several other maintenance-related parameters. We transmit the information through the cellular network, and then it goes to what we call the Geotab ‘store-and-forward server,’ and then into a customer’s database. From there, it’s sent to Mack’s uptime services team by an API between our system and their system, and they consume the information and provide that information back to their customer in an enriched format.”
Sutarik says that the availability of this technology will have the greatest impact at the dealer level: “It allows the dealership to offer these uptime services at the ground level that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”
All in all, it’s good news for fleets operating older trucks that still run smoothly but may lack access to the latest in technology.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Fleet Equipment magazine.